Intelligence researcher Alfred / THU 5-1-14 / Polynesian term for island hopper / Tolkien's Prancing Pony / Chemical restricted by Stockholm Convention / Goods stolen by Knave of Hearts / Integral can compute it
Thursday, May 1, 2014
Constructor: Brandon Hensley
Relative difficulty: Challenging
Word of the Day: NAIL SET (5D: Tool used with a hammer) —
A tool used for driving a nail so that its head is below or flush with a surface. Also called nail punch.
Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/nail-set#ixzz30QWh9dwn
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ALIEN ABDUCTION "legends" I know about do not involve cows. At all. They involve probes. And humans. Rural humans. And orifices. Rural human orifices. Cows?—news to me. But I'm not rural, so that may explain my ignorance, at least partially. I like this puzzle's playfulness. I didn't love solving it that much—the fill is just OK—and 44 black squares is just insane (-ly high), but it's pretty original, and has several thematic layers, so even if I didn't have a rip-roaring time solving it, I do appreciate the artistry and effort. Probably would've made more sense to have the cow on the ground, but maybe the point is that the COW is being tractor-beamed up … yes, that must be it. It's weird, though, because COW's placement doesn't really give you a distinct sense of elevation. But then you'd probably need a FIELD square on the bottom, and that could be difficult to pull off.
GENII is a very rough plural that no one would ever use ever (17A: Whizzes). I see it listed there as a second potential spelling of the plural. Still sucks. Never heard of a NAIL SET, so that whole NW section was a bear for me at first (before I got the theme). It was home to what I believe to be the best wrong answer of the day: for 19A: Site of many hangings (CLOSET), I had CROSS. Happy belated Easter! I don't really get the "?" on 18A: Far south? (ANTARCTIC). What is the play on words there? The ANTARCTIC is, in fact, the "far south" of the globe, so … I don't get it. BEARDLESS is odd, and oddly clued. I can be BEARDLESS and yet not be [Clean-shaven]. See, for instance, anyone with a mustache. Or soul patch. or other hair formation that is not a beard. Liked the clue on OMOO (20D: Polynesian term for an island hopper), but man, it added difficulty to an already-difficult puzzle.
I figured out the theme somewhere in the west, when I wanted ROSETTE and TIE TO and neither of them "fit." Getting the "ET" helped me get ALIEN ABDUCTION, and the whole puzzle settled down to about an average Thursday after that. Didn't realize the "ET"s were symmetrical until I was done, and didn't realize a COW was involved until the very last square—made for a nice little exclamation point.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld